Baguazhang (Chinese: 八卦掌; pinyin: Bāguà Zhǎng) is one of the three main Chinese martial arts of the Wudang school, the other two being Taijiquan and Xing Yi Quan. It is more broadly grouped as an internal practice (or neijia quan). Bāguà zhǎng literally means "eight trigram palm," referring to the trigrams of the I Ching (Yijing), one of the canons of Taoism.
Sun Lu-t'ang performing "Lion Embraces the Ball".
|Also known as||Bagua quan, Bagua zhang, Pakua chang, Pa-kua chang|
|Country of origin||China|
|Creator||Dong Haichuan 董海川 (attributed)|
|Famous practitioners||Yin Fu,|
Fu Chen Sung,
Jiang Rong Qiao,
The creation of Baguazhang, as a formalised martial art, is attributed to Dong Haichuan (董海川), who is said to have learned from Taoist and Buddhist masters in the mountains of rural China during the early 19th century. Many Chinese authorities do not accept the Buddhist origin, instead maintaining that those teachers were purely Taoist in origin, the evidence lying in Baguazhang's frequent reference to core concepts central to Taoism, such as Yin and Yang theory, I Ching and Taoism's most distinctive paradigm, the Bagua diagram. The attribution to Buddhist teachers came from the 2nd generation teachers, i.e. Dong Haichuan's students, some of whom were Buddhist. There is evidence to suggest a synthesis of several pre-existing martial arts taught and practised in the region in which Dong Haichuan lived, combined with Taoist circle walking. Through his work as a servant in the Imperial Palace he impressed the emperor with his graceful movements and fighting skill, and became an instructor and a bodyguard to the court. Dong Haichuan taught for many years in Beijing, eventually earning patronage by the Imperial court.
Famous disciples of Dong Haichuan to become teachers were Yin Fu (尹福), Cheng Tinghua (程廷華), Ma Gui (马贵), Song Changrong (宋長榮), Liu Fengchun (劉鳳春), Ma Weiqi (馬維棋), Liu Baozhen (劉寶珍), Liang Zhenpu (梁振蒲) and Liu Dekuan (劉德寛). Although they were all students of the same teacher, their methods of training and expressions of palm techniques differed. The Cheng and Liu styles are said to specialize in "pushing" the palms, Yin style is known for "threading" the palms, Song's followers practice "Plum Flower" (梅花 Mei Hua) palm technique and Ma style palms are known as "hammers." Some of Dong Haichuan's students, including Cheng Tinghua, participated in the Boxer Rebellion. In general, most bagua exponents today practice either the Yin (尹), Cheng (程), or Liang (梁) styles, although Fan (樊), Shi (史), Liu (劉), Fu (傅), and other styles also exist. (The Liu style is a special case, in that it is rarely practiced alone, but as a complement to other styles). In addition, there are sub-styles of the above methods as well, such as the Sun (孫), Gao (高), and Jiang (姜) styles, which are sub-styles of Cheng method.
The practice of circle walking, or "turning the circle", as it is sometimes called, is Baguazhang's characteristic method of stance and movement training. All forms of Baguazhang utilize circle walking as an integral part of training. Practitioners walk around the edge of the circle in various low stances, facing the center, and periodically change direction as they execute forms. For a beginner, the circle is six to twelve feet in diameter. Students first learn flexibility and proper body alignment through the basic exercises, then move on to more complex forms and internal power mechanics. Although the internal aspects of Baguazhang are similar to those of Xingyiquan and Taijiquan, they are distinct in nature.
Many distinctive styles of weapons are contained within Baguazhang; some use concealment, like the "scholar's pen" or a pair of knives (the most elaborate, which are unique to the style, are the crescent-shaped deer horn knives (Chinese: 鹿角刀; pinyin: Lùjiǎodāo). Baguazhang is also known for practicing with extremely large weapons, such as the bāguà jian (八卦劍), or bagua sword, and the bāguà dāo (八卦刀), or bagua broadsword. Other, more conventional weapons are also used, such as the staff (gun), spear (qiang), cane (guai), hook sword (gou) and the straight, double-edged sword (jian). Baguazhang practitioners are also known for being able to use anything as a weapon using the principles of their art.
Baguazhang contains an extremely wide variety of techniques as well as weapons, including various strikes (with palm, fist, elbow, fingers, etc.), kicks, joint locks, throws, and distinctively evasive circular footwork. As such, Baguazhang is considered neither a purely striking nor a purely grappling martial art. Baguazhang practitioners are known for their ability to "flow" in and out of the way of objects. This is the source of the theory of being able to fight multiple attackers. Baguazhang's evasive nature is also shown by the practice of moving behind an attacker, so that the opponent cannot harm the practitioner.
Although the many branches of Baguazhang are often quite different from each other (some, like Cheng style, specialize in close-in wrestling and joint locks, while others, like some of the Yin styles, specialize in quick, long-range striking), all have circle walking, spiraling movement, and certain methods and techniques (piercing palms, crashing palms, etc.) in common.
Baguazhang's movements employ the whole body with smooth coiling and uncoiling actions, utilizing hand techniques, dynamic footwork, and throws. Rapid-fire movements draw energy from the center of the abdomen. The circular stepping pattern also builds up centripetal force, allowing the practitioner to maneuver quickly around an opponent.
Deer horn knives (Chinese: 鹿角刀; pinyin: Lùjiǎodāo), also known as crescent moon knives or duck blades (Chinese: 鴛鴦鉞; pinyin: Yuānyāngyuè), are specialised Chinese bladed weapons consisting of two steel crescents crossing. They are used in Chinese martial arts. This crossing produces four curved, clawlike points, one of which is extended as the "main" blade. The practitioner grips the wrapped middle of the lengthened crescent with the other acting as a hand guard. They are relatively short weapons that are easily concealable in traditional Chinese clothing, and are usually trained in pairs, one for each hand.
Deer horn knives are especially associated with the soft style Chinese martial art Baguazhang, which is known for its diverse weaponry. They are mainly used in trapping an opponent's weapon in aid of tying up or breaking the opponent's weapon, disarming the opponent and other close combat applications.Deer horn knives are normally used against longer weapons such as spears, swords, broadswords, or any weapon which uses a safe distance to attack from. One advantage of deer horn knives in comparison to a longer weapon is that seeing as the deer horn knives are direct appendages of the hands, they can be moved with great speed and precision, and along with their ease of concealment, can easily be used to catch their opponent off guard.Dong Haichuan
Dong Haichuan (13 October 1797 or 1813 – 25 October 1882) is regarded as a skillful martial artist and is widely credited to be the founder of Baguazhang. Most, if not all, existing schools of Baguazhang place Dong Haichuan at the beginning of their lineage. Traditional teachers in China do not regard Dong as the founder, though, but merely as the first identified transmitter of Baguazhang knowledge to the wider public. Prior to Dong, Baguazhang teaching was conducted behind closed doors from one Taoist to another within the Taoist sect.Fu Zhensong
Fu Zhensong (Wade–Giles: Fu Chen-sung; 1872–1953), also known by his courtesy name Fu Qiankun, was a grandmaster of Wudangquan martial arts. He was best known as one of the famed "Five Northern Tigers," and a third-generation master of Baguazhang who founded Fu Style Baguazhang. He was also a soldier and a supporter of Sun Yat-sen.Gao Style Baguazhang
Gao Style Baguazhang (高氏八卦掌) is the style of Baguazhang (八卦掌) descended from Gao Yisheng (高義盛), a student of Cheng Tinghua, who founded one of the two main branches of Baguazhang. Gao is alternatively said to have originally studied with Song Changrong (宋長榮) or Yin Fu (尹福), later (or alternatively previously) studying with one of Cheng's students, Zhou Yuxiang,(周玉祥). Gao style is one of the most widely practiced Baguazhang styles in the West; there are also many practitioners in Tianjin and Taiwan. It has many variations held within various lineages, some which are given below:
He Kecai (Cantonese: Ho Ho Choi)
Cheung Sing Tang (C. S. Tang)
Bi TianzuoThe Gao style system is referred to as the Gao Yisheng branch of the Cheng Tinghua system of Baguazhang. Essentially, Gao Style Bagua is a unique subsystem. The Gao style system, because of Gao's own martial progression over time, can be found to have a number of different permutations, represented in these various lingages. All are valid examples of Gao style Bagua because they all represent Gao Yisheng’s progression as a martial artist. Gao was refining and creating sets until he died. He changed his straight line, pre-heaven and weapons sets more than once in his life but at its core it is a complete Baguazhang system.
Gao style explicitly divides training into two categories: pre-heaven (先天) and post-heaven (後天). Pre-heaven training includes walking the circle and practicing changing palms on the circle; this material is similar to that found in the other Cheng styles. Post-heaven training consists of 64 linear palms (六十四掌) is said by Gao Yisheng to be passed down by a man known as Song Yiren (宋益仁) (i.e., Song Yiren (送藝人), or "person who gives arts"); these palms are unique to the Gao system.Many Gao style practitioners can be found in Tianjin (lineage of Liu Fengcai and others), Taiwan (lineage of Zhang Junfeng), and Hong Kong (lineage of He Kecai).Gao Yisheng
Gao Yisheng (simplified Chinese: 高义盛; traditional Chinese: 高義盛; pinyin: Gāo Yìshèng) (1866–1951) was the creator of the Gao style of the Chinese Internal Martial Art of Baguazhang. His life bridged the second generation and third generation of Bagua practitioners into the 20th century. He was one of the few third generation Bagua practitioners to live beyond the 1940s. His innovation and impact on Bagua as a fighting art cannot be underestimated.John Ng
Wing Lok "John" Ng (born Wing-Lok Ng) is an innovator and instructor of Chinese martial arts known for his simplicity. He is a Six Harmony (Liu yi), Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, and a Drunken Monkey kung fu master. He was born in Fujian in 1950, of Hui Chinese descent. He is also a Traditional Chinese medicine doctor and MD Pharm. D.D.DCM. pharmacist by profession, specializing in herbalism.Li Ching-Yuen
Li Ching-Yuen or Li Ching-Yun (simplified Chinese: 李清云; traditional Chinese: 李清雲; pinyin: Lǐ Qīngyún) (died 6 May 1933) was a Chinese herbalist, martial artist and tactical advisor, known for his supposed extreme longevity. He claimed to have been born in 1736, while disputed records suggest 1677, implying an age at death of 197 and 256 years, respectively. Both far exceed the highest verified ages on record.
His true date of birth was never determined, and his claims have been dismissed by gerontologists as a myth. While his claims have never been verified, they have been widely circulated as an Internet hoax.Li Jinglin
Li Jinglin, also known as Li Fangchen (1885 – 1931) was a deputy inspector-general and later army general for the Fengtian clique during the Chinese warlord era. He hailed from Zaoqiang County, Hebei province, China. After his military career was over he settled in Nanjing, and in 1927 moved to Shanghai. A renowned swordsman, he was known as "China's First Sword."Li Ziming
Li Ziming (李子鳴) (June 25, 1902 – January 23, 1993) was a martial arts expert and third generation descendant of the creator of Baguazhang, Dong Haichuan, under the lineage of Liang Zhenpu - progenitor of Liang Style Baguazhang.Liang Zhenpu
Liang Zhenpu (梁振蒲) (1863–1932) was a Chinese martial artist.
He was born in Beihaojia Village in Ji County in Hebei province on May 20, 1863 during the Qing dynasty under the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor, and died on August 13 at the age of 69 due to illness. He trained in Tan Tui and Biaozhang during his early childhood. At the age of 13, he moved to Beijing to apprentice at his father's second hand clothing store. At this time he had the nickname "Second Hand Clothing Liang". It was during this period in 1877 that he became a direct disciple of Baguazhang creator Dong Haichuan. He studied with Dong for about five years and was well liked by all of Dong's students. He had the fortune of not only learning from Dong Haichuan but also from Dong's other students including Cheng Tinghua, Yin Fu, Shi Jidong, and Liu Fengchun. After the death of both parents at age 20, he opened a martial arts kwoon to make a living.In Ji County he defeated the four "Batian" gangs. In 1899, he saw that there were many injustices being committed by local criminals in the Beijing suburb of Majiapu (马家堡）and single-handedly fought over 200 gangsters armed only with a seven-section chain whip, killing 20 and wounding over 50. He was subsequently imprisoned and sentenced to death. When the Eight-Nation Alliance army invaded Beijing to crush the Boxer Rebellion his prison was heavily damaged and he managed to escape.
Being the youngest of the disciples of Dong, he trained not only with Dong but also with both Yin Fu and Cheng Tinghua, and as a result his style of Baguazhang has some characteristics of both styles. Examples include the Ox Tongue Palm from Yin Style and wrestling movements from Cheng Style. His Baguazhang forms are taught in a circle with the exception of Liu Dekuan's 64 Linear Palms, unlike versions from earlier students (for example, Yin Style Baguazhang) which have many linear segments.Liang Zhenpu style Baguazhang is known to include the following elements:
Ji Ben Gong (Basic Techniques)
Zhuang Fa (Standing Methods)
Bu Fa (Footwork)
Dan Cao Ba Shi (Eight Single Techniques)
Dui Lian Ba Shi (Partnered Exercises/Matched Eight Techniques)
Ding Shi Ba Zhang (Eight Mother Palms)
Ba Da Zhang aka Lao Ba Zhang (Old Eight Palms)
Zhi Tang 64 Zhang (64 Linear Palms)
Ba Mian Zhang (Eight Directions Palms)
Chicken Claw Knives
Mandarin Duck Knives
Crescent Moon Knives (aka Deer Horn Knives)
Kun Lun Fan
Yin Yang Pen Brush
Steel "Yo-Yo" Meteors
Seven Star Rod
Wind and Fire Rings
Lian Huan Zhang (Swimming Body Chain Linking Form)
Long Xing Zhang (Dragon Form Palm)
Qishier Qinna (72 grasps and seizes, grappling technique)
Long and Short WeaponsOne of Liang's most famous students was Li Ziming (1903–1993) who eventually became head of the Beijing Baguazhang Research Association and spread Liang's style around the world. Liang Zhenpu is the only student of Dong Haichuan to be buried next to his tomb.Liu Wanchuan
Liu Wanchuan (also known as Liu Yi Hai) (Chinese: 刘万川) (November 1, 1906 – November 6, 1991) was a master of the Chinese Neijia (internal) martial art Baguazhang. He studied extensively with the great Baguazhang master Ma Gui (1851-1941), and is considered to be one of only two modern masters (the other being Wang Peisheng) to have successfully passed on Ma Gui's unique lineage to current generations. According to Liu Wanchuan, the Baguazhang style that Ma Gui taught him using "low basin, small steps, and particularly heavy power and strength," and for those who practice it regularly "at the very least it will add ten or twenty years to your life."For Baguazhang practitioners, "the most striking characteristic of Ma Gui Baguazhang is the slow and stable circle-walking that develops lower leg strength, qi, blood flow, and whole body power. The body develops to resemble Dong Haichuan and Ma Gui – a thick trunk and back with well developed dantian, firm wrists and ankles, powerful legs and arms, a rosy complexion, and calm expression."The Ma Gui Baguazhang lineage passed down through Liu Wanchuan is now actively taught around the world in China, Japan, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States by current Ma Gui Baguazhang lineage holder Li Baohua.Luo Dexiu
Luo Dexiu or Lo Te-Hsiu (simplified Chinese: 罗德修; traditional Chinese: 羅德修; pinyin: Luó Déxiū) is a Taiwanese martial artist who specializes in the internal Chinese styles of Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, and Taijiquan.
He was born in 1956 (25th day, 11th month of the lunar calendar, which he follows for his birthdate) in Taipei, Taiwan.
Luo Dexiu entered the Tang Shou Tao (唐手道) school of Hong Yixiang (洪懿祥) in 1971, where he began his study of the Internal Martial Arts, devoting himself in the beginning to the use of these arts for fighting, with particular emphasis on Xingyiquan. He became one of Hong Yixiang's best fighters (Pa Kua Chang Journal, 1993).
He later became deeply interested in Baguazhang, which was at the core of the skills taught by Hong Yixiang, having been passed directly from Zhang Junfeng (張俊峰), who trained under Gao Yisheng (高義盛), a master in the Cheng Tinghua (程廷華) branch of Baguazhang. Zhang Junfeng had brought the Gao style of Baguazhang to Taiwan. This lineage and school is called Yizong. Luo Dexiu studied Gao style Baguazhang with Hong Yixiang, and with many of Zhang's other students as well, including Hong Yixiang's brothers Hong Yiwen (洪懿文) and Hong Yimian (洪懿棉). He later continued his intensive studies of Baguazhang with Liu Qian, an early student of Sun Xikun.
Luo Dexiu currently teaches Gao style Baguazhang and Hebei Xingyiquan, carrying on the Yizong tradition through his classes in Taipei, Taiwan, and holds seminar tours annually throughout Europe, America, and the Middle East.Ma Gui (martial artist)
Ma Gui (also known as Ma Shiqing) (Chinese: 马贵; pinyin: Má Guì) (1847–1941 or 1851–1941) was an accomplished master of the internal Chinese martial art of Baguazhang, and was the first disciple of Yin Fu, who in turn was the first disciple of Baguazhang's founder Dong Haichuan. Various lines of Baguazhang claiming lineage to Ma Gui (but comprising different material) are still actively taught in China as well as in Japan, North America, and Europe.Neijia
Neijia is a term in Chinese martial arts, grouping those styles that practice neijing, usually translated as internal martial arts, occupied with spiritual, mental or qi-related aspects, as opposed to an "external" approach focused on physiological aspects. The distinction dates to the 17th century, but its modern application is due to publications by Sun Lutang, dating to the period of 1915 to 1928. Neijing is developed by using neigong, or "internal exercises," as opposed to "external exercises" (wàigōng 外功),
Wudangquan is a more specific grouping of internal martial arts named for their association with the Taoist monasteries of the Wudang Mountains, Hubei in Chinese popular legend. These styles were enumerated by Sun Lutang as Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang, but most also include Bajiquan and the legendary Wudang Sword.
Some other Chinese arts, not in the Wudangquan group, such as Qigong, Liuhebafa, Bak Mei Pai, Zi Ran Men (Nature Boxing), Bok Foo Pai and Yiquan are frequently classified (or classify themselves) as "internal".Sui Yunjiang
Sui Yunjiang (隋云江) is a famous Chinese martial artist. He was born in Heilongjiang province on November 18, 1945. From an early age he studied martial arts with famous masters including Li Ziming, Han Qichang, Wang Zhizhong, and Zhao Shide. His specialties are Liang Style Baguazhang and Meihuazhuang (also known as Meihuaquan). The famous third generation Baguazhang master Li Ziming and disciple of Liang Zhenpu once wrote words of praise for him: "Yun Jiang is one of my most outstanding apprentices in the fourth Baguazhang generation". After several years of training with Li, he suggested Sui supplement his Baguazhang training with Meihuazhuang and introduced him to his close friend and famous 17th generation Meihuazhuang master Han Qichang. He is now a 4th generation Baguazhang descendant under Li Ziming and 18th generation Meihuazhuang descendant under Han Qichang. For many years now, he has taught many students from both China and overseas including professional athletes and martial arts enthusiasts from the US, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, and Singapore. Master Sui is a member of the Beijing Baguazhang Research Association and the Beijing Meihuazhuang Research Association.
In 1990 he was invited by the Soviet Central Athletics Bureau and Moscow Athletics Bureau to teach martial arts in the Former Soviet Union (Russian Federation). During his four-year stay in the Former Soviet Union, he participated in many martial arts conferences, and on the Soviet Central TV station introduced Chinese traditional culture on a show titled Chinese Traditional Martial Arts. He was invited by Dr. Ma Liangwen, a famous Soviet expert on Chinese studies, to participate in a Russian-organized international academic conference. In this conference, he reported on functions of the human body and modern science and was given favorable comments from many international experts. On the Russian International Radio Broadcasting Station he participated in an exchange of Chinese and Russian traditional cultures.
After he returned to China he participated in the Third International Wushu Exchange Tournament in Dalian, China and was selected as the vice chairman of the event. He also personally competed in the tournament and won a gold medal and his apprentices won silver and bronze medals. In 1997, the chairman of the Sino-Japanese Martial Arts Alliance, Mr. Zuo Teng Jin Bing Wei, hired him as a consultant for the Japanese Baguazhang Research Association. In that same year, the Japanese Baguazhang Research Association and the Japanese Gai Zhi Company came to Beijing in order to make a video series of Sui Yunjiang's Baguazhang for distribution in the Japanese market. There have been many articles about him and photographs published in Japan's Martial King Magazine, as well as periodicals in other nations such as Switzerland.
In recent years, he has been prominently featured in many well-known publications. In 1996, he was published in the China Modern Wushu Masters Dictionary. In 1998 was published in the American Who's Who Around The World, The Essence of China Encyclopedia, The Essence of Chinese Wushu List, and the Chinese Scientist article, "China Expert Resource Century Treasure". In early 1999 he was published in the Chinese Expert Name Dictionary and Chinese Figures of the Century. In the fall of 1999, he went to South Korea to teach martial arts. In July 2005, he traveled to Italy to teach Baguazhang and Meihuazhuang. He is currently instructing students again in Beijing. In September 2007, he traveled to the United States for the first time to give seminars on Baguazhang and Meihuazhang in New York City.Sun Lutang
Sun Lu-t'ang or Sun Lutang (1860-1933) was a renowned master of Chinese neijia (internal) martial arts and was the progenitor of the syncretic art of Sun-style t'ai chi ch'uan. He was also considered an accomplished Neo-Confucian and Taoist scholar (especially in the I Ching), and was a distinguished contributor to the theory of internal martial arts through his many published works.Wang Peisheng
Wang Peisheng (1919–2004) was a teacher of Wu-style t'ai chi ch'uan. He was Yang Yuting's student and also a student of Wang Mao Zhai.Xie Peiqi
Xie Pieqi (1920–2003) was the 4th generation lineage holder of Yin Style Baguazhang (YSB). He was succeeded in the art by his student, He Jinbao.Yin Style Baguazhang
Yin Style Baguazhang is a style of Baguazhang.